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Wetlands along the South Fork Kern River

If  drought was gone and lots of rain had fallen, what do you think this area would look like?  The trees are willows, the dried stalks are tules and cattails, and this is part of the floodplain of the South Fork Kern River.

This land becomes a pond during wet years, but the abundance of cattails means the pond is filling in with sediment and is not a free body of water any longer. Historical records talk about the area once being a favorite fishing spot for the local American Indians, the Tubatulabal. The men built rafts from tule plants and floated out upon the waters in pursuit of turtles and fish.

Water diversions upstream along with loss of riparian forest have changed how water moves into and through the area. Instead of the full force of the river moving soils along and clearing out the channels, the slower movement means soils remain behind, building up in depth, resulting in a change in plant types.

This wetland is part of the Audubon California Kern River Preserve, but it has had a number of property owners since the late 1800's when the California gold rush brought prospectors and settlers to the area.

This post first appeared on Sierra Nevada Ramblings, please read the originial post: here

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Wetlands along the South Fork Kern River


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